I was 12 when he was born. I thought I was completely grown up. Mom and Dad let me stay home by myself during the day while Mom was in the hospital and I thought I was in heaven. When he came home he stole my heart along with the hearts of everyone else around him. Really everyone, including random strangers on the street, so excited to see a blonde boy “after all those girls!”
I used to hold him and tell him all my dreams (at the time I wanted to go work in an orphanage in china).
When I got to high school he cheered me on at all my track meets. My friends liked him more than me.
I moved out when he was 6 years old. He later told me that when they dropped me off at college he didn’t know that I wasn’t coming back with them… ever.
We never fought, I was so much older it would have been slightly ridiculous.
Then I got married and Adam gained 4 brothers.
He came to visit us when we lived in California.
We moved to St. George when he was 15. He would occasionally come hang out with us during lunch (we lived right next to the high school) and school me at speed. Our final tally was something like 105 to 6.
In October 2012 I was sitting at home watching conference by myself when the announcement was made that the missionary age was being lowered. Boys could now serve a full time mission at 18 and girls at 19. I called Adam immediately. He said something profound like, “Cool” and sounded slightly bewildered.
A few months later he got his mission call. It was a long time coming. Possibly due to the Middle Eastern countries he lived in. Mom was getting extremely nervous.
The official call finally arrived while he was in NYC with my parents over spring break. Justin and I carefully opened it, took a picture and texted it to him, without looking at the destination. A few minutes later he hear him read, “You have been called to the Donetsk, Ukraine mission.” and we hear Mom yell, “Thank you! It’s not Africa!”
Then amidst a flurry of activity, he left. I promised to write him every week. I think I only missed 5 or 6 so while not perfect, it was decent.
First he went to Atlanta Georgia for a couple of months awaiting his visa. Then it was off to Ukraine, Russian speaking.
I found out about the unrest in Ukraine sitting in sacrament meeting. During a prayer someone said, “And please be with all those missionaries serving in Ukraine.”
“Why do we need to pray for the missionaries in Ukraine?” I asked. I made Justin google it instantly. From that point on we followed the news like junkies, and heard from his mission president, via Mom, at least weekly.
Meanwhile, Elder Esplin took pictures of the soldiers, went into a building that had just been bombed, was put on lock down, and stopped wearing his name tag at night. They were eventually given approximately 24 hours notice that it was time to leave the area. They were forbidden to proselyte, so the missionaries spent the last day at the largest outdoor market in the world. That night they fled by train, some almost not making it out. They arrived in Kiev the next morning. He served there for 2 months until he was reassigned to the Fort Collins CO mission, where he completed his service; happy to still be serving, to get hot showers and peanut butter, but anxious for the people of Ukraine.
We were very excited to have him back.
Each niece/nephew worked hard on making him a sign.or a song….Jackson had some help.Josh knew exactly how he wanted his. There may or may not have been tears when the right colors of blue and yellow couldn’t be found.Kelsie wanted every inch covered.
Last week on June 23, he came home. It was better, and more emotional than Christmas. On the way to the airport we sang at the top of our lungs and Josh told me, “This is going to be one of the most memorable car rides of my life.” We got to the airport and waited….
Until he finally walked through the door. Mom made it very clear that she got first hug, after that it was a free for all. We hugged and cried and took a bunch of bad pictures in which no one looked at the camera.
He was finally home. It’s important to leave, to change, to grow, but the longer you are gone the sweeter coming home is.
See his homecoming here. (The link now works)